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Culture Currents

Our people – our evolution: ‘Emmett Till: An American Hero’

January 30, 2014

“Emmitt Till” does more than call attention to how Till’s death ignited the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It points to the quiet heroism of Mamie Till Mobley in the face of unspeakable horror and unrelieved terrorism. Come see this dynamic and inspirational play by Tavia Percia and the Tavia Percia Theatre Company: Saturday, Feb. 1, 7 and 9 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 2, 3 and 5 p.m., at the Eastside Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd, Oakland.

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Party with Bluesman Augusta Collins at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland on Feb. 1

January 29, 2014

Augusta Collins is one of the Bluesmen who still roam around Oakland playing the music of his generation, one of the classical music forms indigenous to Black people of the U.S. Many of today’s young people do not know that in the ‘40s and early ‘50s, West Oakland’s Seventh Street was one of the Blues hubs west of the Mississippi. Augusta Collins’ music is reminiscent of that sound, and his party will hit upon that vibe.

How the discovery of COINTELPRO saved me from prison

January 28, 2014

By now millions of Americans have heard about COINTELPRO. COINTELPRO was the FBI’s evil and illegal system of spying, lying, telephone wire taps, frame-ups and assassination that violated the constitutional and human rights that they claim to uphold. I was recently asked, while doing a Black Panther Party historical tour in Oakland, how COINTELPRO affected me personally. Here is one of my stories.

Five years after the Oscar Grant murder: Author of ‘No Doubt: The Murder(s) of Oscar Grant’ speaks …

January 25, 2014

It has been five years since Oakland was set on fire during the Oakland Rebellions that were a result of the BART police murder of Oscar Grant. Los Angeles based journalist Thandisizwe Chimurenga is set to release her book, “No Doubt: The Murder(s) of Oscar Grant,” in the coming weeks. This book gives a much needed political analysis of what was at work behind the curtains of this monumental police murder case.

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‘Full Court Press to Success’ workshop series to feature new Fleetwood film, ‘I Just Wanna Ball’

January 17, 2014

The first in a series of empowerment workshops, “Full Court Press to Success,” will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8, 4-5:30 p.m. at the Bayview Opera House. The workshop features the new documentary film, “I Just Wanna Ball,” by Robert “Fleetwood” Bowden about the McClymonds High School Lady Warriors championship team of 2013.

The Dr. Carter G. Woodson Black History Bowl is Feb. 22 at Frick Middle School in Oakland

January 13, 2014

Named after the author of the classic “Miseducation of the Negro” and the founder of Black History Week, which later graduated into Black History Month, this bowl is a competition, where contestants are on teams that try to be the fastest to answer questions deriving from Black history. We are taking a minute with the founder of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Black History Bowl, Yafeu Tyhimba, so that he can discuss the competition’s history and future.

AB, ode to Amiri Baraka

January 13, 2014

I searched frantically for you at the end … Of the Apollo’s Sekou Sundiata celebration; … I jumped over a chair, just missing you, at … The Harlem Stage tribute to Abbey Lincoln; … Finally, caught you at the Schomburg’s … Langston Hughes Auditorium, at the … Fidel-Malcolm Meeting book talk … Forgave you for slipping … On Iceberg Slim, and … Told you, “I LOVE YOU …”

African American leaders host first annual music, art and self-advocacy event for people with disabilities in the New York area

January 13, 2014

Community Empowerment Programs Incorporated will be working extensively with Leroy F. Moore Jr., founder of Krip Hop Nation, on programs that empower people with disabilities in arts, self-advocacy and music. The partnership will start working on its first annual activism, music and arts event facilitated by African American leaders hosted in Albany, N.Y., and a location to be determined in New York City shortly thereafter.

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‘Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas’

January 12, 2014

“Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas” by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker (2013) is part visionary road map, part post-traumatic Katrina therapy, and part poetic love ode/lament to our city. One chapter addresses systems of containment – levees and prisons. In Angola, jailhouse lawyers organized voting blocks of outside allies to push for prison reform and to have decades-long solitary confinement declared cruel and unusual punishment.

Amiri Baraka, the Malcolm X of literature, dies at 79 – two tributes

January 11, 2014

Amiri Baraka was a giant to those who know him. And now that he is physically gone, his legend will only grow. The FBI once identified him as “the person who will probably emerge as the leader of the pan-African movement in the United States.” Even those who critiqued him considered him to be brilliant, even referring to him as the Malcolm X of literature and spoken word. He often said bluntly and yet humbly that “Malcolm X was my leader.” Amiri Baraka put into practice what Malcolm taught him about cultural revolution.

Go Baby Productions comedy shows bring smiles to Bay Area faces: an interview wit’ comedian Leroy Stansfield

January 10, 2014

Leroy Stansfield’s Go Baby Productions has been organizing some of the biggest local comedy shows in the Bay Area over the last few years. I met this local entrepreneur while I was doing the Block Report on KPFA. I sat down to talk to the head comedian in charge, Mr. Leroy Stansfield himself, about his history as a comedian, the history of his company, and his thoughts on the Bay Area comedy scene. Check him out in his own words.

Andre Ward in 2014: Reflections on a son of God

January 6, 2014

Even though people use the words “second best pound-for-pound fighter” when discussing Andre “Son of God” Ward in comparison to Floyd Mayweather’s reign as the boxing world’s top attraction, it is difficult to imagine Andre Ward as being second best to anyone in his field – for any reason. At 29, his 20 years in the boxing business, his 17 years of wins and no losses and his 27-0 professional boxing record stand him in good stead.

Block Report Radio: Revolutionary radio station empowers the people

January 4, 2014

Word reached The Liberator Magazine that revolutionary Black independent media is about to expand with the impending launch of Block Report Radio Station on the internet. So they sought out its founder, Oakland journalist JR Valrey, to ask him why he devotes his life to independent media and what we can expect from the new Block Report Radio Station.

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Third Street Stroll …

January 3, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Life continues for some, while many did not make it into 2014. Loved ones lost: MADIBA! MADIBA! BELOVED former South Africa President NELSON MANDELA; GRADY WILKINS, music director of the legendary WHISPERS; SUCCESSFUL Bayview business man MR. DAVE GARRISON; TWO San Francisco ICONS – the FAMOUS HAT LADY, RUTH GARLAND DEWSON and Legendary FILLMORE Master TAILOR and golfer CLYDE HOLLIE.

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Home training: A basis for survival

January 2, 2014

Whether we call it discipline or creating expectations for their behavior, children want and deserve clear directions as to “how to be” in this world. Without this supportive feedback and grounding, they can find themselves mired in frustration, often leading to inappropriate acting out and causing discomfort to themselves as well as those around them.

Salvador, Bahia, Brazil: Africa in the Americas

January 1, 2014

I don’t know if it is a will of iron, Ogun or foolishness, but I caught something viral, which I refused to keep, on the plane Monday, Dec. 23, when I flew to San Salvador, El Salvador, by mistake – yes, the booking agent booked me for San Salvador when I clearly said Salvador, BAHIA, Brazil (smile). I kept seeing San Salvador and thought, well, perhaps this is another way of referencing Salvador, Bahia.

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The Screening Room

December 30, 2013

The Screening Room, a new local startup TV show, features up-and-coming filmmakers with interviews about their films, the filmmaking journey and future outlook. We were honored to have the lovely Sheila V. Harris as our host in a recent episode of The Screening Room. She interviewed two local filmmakers, Karen Ruiz, a native San Franciscan, and Rock Hemlock, originally from Dallas, Texas.

The other side of the divide

December 28, 2013

It is obvious that dark-skinned African American women have endured a myriad of struggles and pain based on their complexion. What about the other side of the racial hue? The real life story of the light-skinned African American woman has largely been mute in American society. It is rare that you hear or see accounts of how light-skinned women view themselves or their position in American society.

In memory of Cookie Suttle (January 1925-November 2013)

December 25, 2013

Elsie “Cookie” Suttle was born on Jan. 3, 1925, in Weatherford, Oklahoma, the last of four sisters. She was a beautician for over 30 years. For over 60 years, she was a devout member of First AME Zion Church in San Francisco and more recently a member of Kyles Temple AME Zion Church in Vallejo. Her beautiful white hair was her trademark.

‘Love, Peace, and Soul’: an interview wit author Ericka Blount

December 19, 2013

“Love, Peace, and Soul” by the award-winning writer and WPFW broadcaster Ericka Blount is a documented history of the show that helped to launch and sustain the careers of such musical giants as James Brown, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Ike and Tina, Aretha Franklin and more.

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